Gay Man Victim of Suspected ‘Honor Killing’ in Turkey


Ahmet Yildiz, a 26-year-old gay man who lived proudly and openly in Istanbul, was shot to death leaving a cafe near the Bosphorus Strait this week. His friends believe he may have been the victim of what’s being seen as Turkey’s first “honor killing” of a gay man.

YildizThe Independent reports: “Turkey has a history of honour killings. A government survey earlier this year estimated that one person every week dies in Istanbul as a result of honour killings. It put the nationwide death toll at 220 in 2007. In the majority of cases, the victims are women, but Mr Yildiz’s friends suspect he may be the first recorded victim of a homosexual honour killing. ‘We’ve been trying to contact Ahmet’s family since Wednesday, to get them to take responsibility for the funeral,’ one of the victim’s friends said yesterday, standing outside the morgue where his body has been for three days. ‘There’s no answer, and I don’t think they are going to come.’ The refusal of families to bury their relatives is common after honour-related murders. Mazhar Bagli, a Turkish sociologist who has interviewed 189 people convicted of honour killings, has never heard of a death revolving around homosexuality but has no doubt that it could be used as justification. ‘Honour killings cleanse illicit relationships. For women, that is a broad term. Men are allowed more sexual freedom, but homosexuality is still seen by some as beyond the pale.'”

Said Yildiz’s former neighbor: “He could have hidden who he was, but he wanted to live honestly. When the death threats started, his boyfriend tried to persuade him to get out of Turkey. But he stayed. He was too brave. He was too open.”

What a tragedy. May he rest in peace.

In June, a Turkish Court ordered the Lambda Istanbul Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transvestites Solidarity Association shut down because it said that the inclusion of words describing sexual identities of its members in the group’s official name violated public morality.

Was Ahmet Yildiz the victim of Turkey’s first gay honour killing?

Top image via Joe.My.God – sent to him by a friend of Ahmet’s.


  1. jason says

    This is very sad. Ahmet was beautiful in the fact that he was honest and open about himself in a society that wasn’t conducive to it. Let’s just hope they catch those responsible.

  2. Sebastian says

    Wow, this is really sad news. I hope he is at peace. I never thought I would see this sort of thing happen in Turkey, but, now that they letting the fundamentalists Islamic party run the country, who knows if the lure of EU membership will stop this.

  3. says

    it also seems that unless the Turkish calendar has 220 weeks in a year, the government is grossly understating the number of honor killings when they say only one per week.

  4. Mark says

    I don’t know how this comes as a surprise to anyone.

    Turkey orchestrated the first genocide of the 20th century by killing hundreds of thousands of Armenians and still refuse to take responsibility for those actions.

    Why would they consider killing a smaller number of people to be wrong, especially when it’s “justified” as a proud killing?

  5. Peter says

    A lot of people are reading through this story a little quickly. It’s a bit different from most gay hate crimes in the US. The assumption is that it’s his FAMILY that murdered him. That’s what makes it an “honor killing.”

  6. says

    Actually, most of gay like to refer that they are horny, including besbian, bisexual and transgender, like those LGBT say online at describe themselve. That’s the right way to show themselves.

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